Woodbridge Paternity Lawyer
Every child, regardless of their situation in life, deserves to know who their parents are. In some situations, though, there may be questions about the biological paternity of a child. Paternity proceedings may be necessary to give both parents and child peace of mind about their heritage. In addition, establishing paternity may be an important prerequisite for obtaining child support or other monetary assistance.
If you need help with any paternity issue, a Woodbridge paternity lawyer may be able to help. Specifically, they could review your situation and provide you with the best legal options for your situation. A dedicated attorney could also work with you to file any necessary legal paperwork as quickly as possible and represent you in court to help ensure you receive a fair outcome.Establishing Paternity in Woodbridge
Under New Jersey Revised Statutes §9:17-41, paternity may be established in one of the following ways:
- Voluntary acknowledgment of paternity
- Determination of paternity through court proceedings
- Any other paternity determination made in another state or jurisdiction
To voluntarily acknowledge paternity, an individual may sign a Certificate of Parentage either before or after the birth of their child, according to N.J.R.S. §9:17-41. This certificate generally contains a sworn statement that the individual is the father of the child, as well as directions for filing the statement with the appropriate state agency, as per N.J.R.S. §26:8-28.1. Both the mother and the father must sign the certificate and have these signatures authenticated by a notary.
Any person who signs a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity may rescind that acknowledgement within 60 days of the signing, according to N.J.R.S. §9:17-41. Additionally, if there is clear and convincing evidence of fraud or duress, the acknowledgement will be considered invalid. Given the multiple steps that must occur before paternity can be declared at a child’s birth, it may be helpful to consult with a Woodbridge paternity lawyer for answers to any questions regarding this process.Court-Ordered Determination of Paternity
Under N.J.R.S. §9:17-45, all paternity actions must be filed within five years after the child reaches the age of majority. Under that same statute, the following individuals may file a court action to determine the paternity of a child:
- The birth mother of the child
- The child themselves or their legal representative
- The purported father
- Any state or county health or welfare agency
After an action is filed, all parties—along with their Woodbridge paternity lawyers, if any were retained—generally attend a consent conference for the purposes of settling the issue, according to N.J.R.S. §9:17-48. If the conference does not produce a resolution, the court would order the parties and the child to undergo blood tests or genetic tests for the purposes of determining paternity.
If such tests show that an individual has a 95 percent or greater chance of being the father of the child, they would be presumed to be the child’s legal father. Under N.J.R.S. §9:17-48, any refusal to submit to blood or genetic tests could give rise to an inference that that the results would be unfavorable to that individual. A court also has the power to hold the individual in contempt.Speak with a Woodbridge Paternity Attorney Today
If you need help establishing paternity, contact a Woodbridge paternity lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney with experience helping both mothers and fathers protect their rights and their children should be familiar with a wide variety of paternity issues and could provide critical advice and assistance with your case.
If you decide to go to court, a skilled family lawyer could also represent you in any hearings or proceedings and defend your interests as vigorously as possible. If you have a paternity issue, do not delay. Call today to schedule an initial consultation and see what options may be available to you.